Once again, Ryanair shows how little its workers matter to the low-cost airline

9 Sep 2022

The closure of Ryanair’s base in Brussels Zaventem base shows how little Ryanair cares for its workers.

On Wednesday, workers were told that due to the cost of charges at the airport, they would all lose their jobs in Brussels, and the company would be closing their base. The impact of this move goes far beyond a reduction of flights for the airport. Approximately 100 workers will now have their lives changed and will be forced to transfer or find other work. Ryanair has done this with little notice and with no engagement with unions representing the workers. This sets a dangerous precedent and one which should not be allowed to continue.

The closure shows the growing trend of a small number of trans-European airlines and the impact that their decisions have on their Europe-wide workforce. The aviation industry is no longer a national industry and most major airline groups have companies and bases across the whole continent. They have a history of easily moving aircraft, and now it seems that they also want to move people easily. A person is not a machine, and they cannot be moved around at the will of a company. Ryanair’s decision will change the lives of these workers forever, and they will now be forced to move entire families away from Brussels or leave the industry without any say. This is unacceptable.

At the ETF’s Congress in 2022, we repeated our commitment to defend the rights of workers in transnational companies like Ryanair. These companies must ensure their workers and unions are treated fairly and have a say in their own lives. Only with real social dialogue involving representative unions can we ensure fair transfers and a just transition away from aviation if it is needed.

The ETF stands in solidarity with the workers of the Zaventem base and their unions ACV PULS and ACV CNE. We will not move on our commitment made in the 2022 ETF Congress and are determined to do all in our power to protect their jobs and their interests.